SPANISH LAWS FOR BOATS
This is the excellent company I use:
Because I moved to Spain, as a resident, I got in touch with Spanish Legal Authorities to find out the situation with bringing my boat into the country for UK citizens.
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There are 'charts/maps' throughout, the distances, dimensions & main stopping places and is the only publication to list ALL the possible stopping places on the Rhone River!/
(It is my opinion this is how UK boats will be treated after Brexit.)
The following is from the EU official website of the EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Frequently Asked Questions on: Rules for private boats
How can a yacht be placed under TA?
Be aware the above applies to your boat it does not apply to you personally.
The following is how it applies to non EU residents
Short Stay Visits to the Schengen Area (France, Spain, Belgium et al)
A short stay visit (whether a visa is required or not) to the Schengen Area by non-EU citizens is now defined as a total of 90 days' stay during any 180 day period.
In this instance, the word "any" means: for any 180 day period, one must not spend more than 90 days in the Schengen Area. This is typically calculated from "today" back 180 days: if you have been in the Schengen Area for 90 of those days, you will be in violation of the agreement.
See a full explanation at the European Home Affairs website.
It is important to remember this restriction after Brexit when contemplating an extended cruise in northern European waters or the Mediterranean if you, or a member of your crew, is a non-EU citizen.
The 90 days does not have to be continuous as it is a total of 90 days during any180 day period. If you follow this link to European Home Affairs website you will find a link there to a very useful 'Short-Stay calculator' which will enable you to work out the days you can stay in the Schengen Area.
scroll down for how it is before Brexit
Why not take your boat to the Mediterranean next summer?
There are several ways of getting your boat to the Mediterranean. On the back of a lorry, via the French canals, four or five day’s non stop across the Bay of Biscay then down the Portuguese coast or spend the summer or two, gently coasting southwards, enjoying the harbours, cities, towns and villages of France Spain and Portugal.
This is not a pilot book, rather a passage plan and guide to the nicer places between the South Coast of the UK to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. It can all be done in easy stages, to suit a lightly crewed boat, with perhaps only a couple of people on board who are without ‘offshore’ experience. Actually, it is a lovely way to explore a lot of delightful foreign places.
Cherbourg to L’Aber-Wrac’h.
Chenal du Four to La Rochelle
La Rochelle to Spain
La Rochelle to Coruña
Coruna to Gibraltar
+illustrations, pictures, paintings
1 – Planning the voyage
2 –South coast to Chenal du Four
3 - Chenal du Four to La Rochelle
4 - La Rochelle to Spain overview
5 - La Rochelle to Coruña
6 - Coruña to Gibraltar
Download now from
The sales of this book almost equal that of French Canal Routes.
The best guide - pilot book of this sometimes challenging. available
If you are just sailing into Spain and intend being in Spanish Waters
for less than 183 days = 6 months in any year:
then really you have no problems.
You must carry on board your registration certificate (SSR or 'Part 1' for UK boats) your passports, a copy of your insurance documentation and a VHF operators licence. These rules apply to all EU countries for a EU registered boat with EU owner/skipper.
No foreign country can dictate what qualifications or safety equipment a yacht or skipper in their waters must conform to except it should conform to the rules of the country in which the boat is registered. (The UK does not require any qualification to 'drive' a boat so you do not need to carry one.) You may choose to, because not all Spanish Customs/Guardia Civil know that is the UK law! To have a ICC or Yachtmaster is useful. Authorities from any EU country can require 'proof' that VAT has been paid on the vessel.
If you have property in Spain and a boat in a local port but are personally in Spain for less than 183 days - 6 months of the year, then you also do not have a problem. It is your 'non residence', not the fact the boat is in Spanish waters that counts. It is sensible to have the boat 'precintado' or sealed by Spanish Customs when you are 'away' in order to prove the less than 183 days of residence/use of the boat. (The onus of 'proof' is on you to prove you were not in the country - it is not on the Spanish Authorities!)
If you intend sailing into Spain and you personally, are spending more than 183 days = 6 months in one year -
even if you leave and re-enter during any 12 month period, then different rules/laws apply:
If you are land based or living in your boat in Spain, for more than 180 days in any 12 month period, then the Spanish Authorities will consider you to be resident in Spain. (You will remain domicile in your country of origin (e.g. UK) but for Spanish legal and tax purposes you are considered to be a resident of Spain.
(The same rule applies to France, Netherlands, Greece, Portugal and other EU countries)
If you own a property in Spain and spend more than 183 days = 6 months in Spain in any 12 month period, then the Spanish authorities consider you to be resident in Spain
My guess the above will be true for UK boats after Brexit - maybe!
Scroll down for Matriculation and VAT information
THIS IS HOW THE current eu SPANISH LAW EXPECTS RESIDENTS TO BEHAVE WITH THEIR BOATS:-
You must pay 'Matriculation' tax of 12% of the value of the boat.
However it is possible to have this Matriculation' tax of 12% waived if you apply for Spanish registration as follows
1.The registration must be applied within the first 30 days from becoming resident in Spain.
2. The boat should have paid the standard taxes in the EU country of origin.
3. The boat should have been owned by you for at least 12 months before of getting the Spanish tax residency.
The ownership who obtain this tax benefit cannot sell the boat before six months.
Probably need help with this - here
If it is not possible to prove that VAT has already been paid then you would need to pay VAT. (You should be able to prove that it has been paid fairly easily from the boats paperwork)
You will be liable for the annual Tarifa G-5 tax which is effectively a tax on having a boat and varies with the power of the engine and the size of the boat. Bit like the old 'light dues'. - the same tax exists in France and several other EU countries. It is payable locally. The 'average' cost for a 12 metre sail boat is probably around 600€ annually. This tax appears to be applied in Valencia but not in other parts of Spain. It is sometimes charged by the marina and included in the berthing fees.
The law in Spain changed in January 2011 and it is no longer required that EU citizens resident in Spain re-flag their boats, so once you have applied for the exemption of the matriculation tax, as in many other EU countries, you will be required to pay the same boat tax as Spanish Citizens. You will be allowed to equip and sail your boat according to the laws of your country of origin.
For UK citizens there are no legal requirements on boat equipment or certificates to allow you to drive your boat, so the same applies in Spain.
For the re-flagging, matriculation and registering of a UK boat into a Spanish resident boat I have been in touch with:
Marina Port Vell
+34 667 663 521
Our yachting division 'Taxmarine' provides a scope of services focus in tax and legal assistance on any issue related with the yachting industry. Our new project takes advantage of all our previous experience during all these years and the changes that are taking place in Marina Port Vell which is in the process to be reconverted into a super yacht marina. Our team of economists and lawyers are ready to assist you in any issue connected with your yacht across Spain
I paid Alex his standard fee and received no favours and none asked. My comments are simply from having a good experience.
I now have a proper 'matriculation' document on board, showing I do not need to pay matriculation tax. The process was pretty easy, although it required me to obtain photocopies of certain documents. It was all done using email and Alex posted me my tax avoidance certificate a few days after I sent him the final document. A good experience.
I thoroughly recommend you use Alex for this boat registration. Never met the guy, but it was a very professional and trouble free, legal avoidance of the Spanish Tax.
Scroll down for importing your non Spanish car
Mobile 00 34 679 106 378
fixed line 00 34 952871779
Email - email@example.com
If you are busy with importing your boat without paying the 12% matriculation tax the chances are you have a non Spanish car which if imported into Spain is also liable for this tax on it's 'Spanish value' which is almost certainly higher than the value of it's country or origin. Eventually you will have3 to register the car as Spanish so it's worth saving the 12% tax by getting it 'Spanish Plated within two months of your entering the country as a visitor.
I had a mechanical breakdown in my car which is insured by www.lineadirecta.com.
I called their 'help' line and spoke to a very helpful operator who spoke excellent/perfect English. He told me that a 'tow truck' would be with me in half an hour - it arrived in 15 minutes. We were taken to a garage and received a text enquiring if all was going OK?
Shortly after arriving at the garage I received a phone call from Lineadirecta asking if I wanted FOC a car hire for 24 hours or a taxi to my home. I opted for the taxi and was told it would arrive in 25 minutes. 15 minutes later it was at the garage!
I was told to call Lineadirecta back when my car was repaired and they would arrange a taxi to return me from my home to the gargate to collect the car. All this FOC and not affecting my no claims bonus.
The insurance premium for the car is less than I was paying in France and the cover far better. I had inquired of several Spanish companies for insurance but all their quotes were higher.
So if you want car/household or whatever insurance in Spain then I really recommend you try www.lineadirecta.com
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who have been kind, helpful and understanding. I really recommend them